City of Aiken discusses “Opportunity Zone”

City of Aiken discusses “Opportunity Zone”

AIKEN, SC (WFXG) - The City of Aiken has a large “Opportunity Zone” right near its downtown. City leaders held a meeting Wednesday, Sept. 18, to explain the potential of the zone to residents and ask for their input.

This meeting has been six months in the making, and really gives residents a chance to not only understand the “Opportunity Zone”, but what they can do to see the north side of Aiken grow.

“When I heard about the opportunity, I told my wife, ‘Let’s go see what’s going on," said Harold Robinson, an Aiken resident. Robinson was joined by several other Aiken residents to learn about the “Opportunity Zone” and what is could mean for their community. “What is the process? What do I need to come to the table with? Do I need to apply for a loan or have my own money? Just interested in learning the process," Robinson said.

The zone, which stretches over part of North Aiken, is defined by poverty level and average household income. According to the Tax Cuts and Job Acts of 2017, if developers invest inside “Opportunity Zones”, they can see benefits to their business, like deferring payments on Capital Gains taxes.

Assistant City Manager of Business Development Tim O’Briant said, “it is a method for the federal government to encourage investors to put money in communities or portions of the community that need a little extra attention and investment.”

Robinson said, “it means a lot. It means people care about my community. I care about my community, and maybe people want to come in and invest.”

The next step of this program is the City of Aiken releasing a Prospectus Document that will be used to showcase what Aiken has to offer to potential investors. That will be released sometime in October.

City of Aiken's "Opportunity Zone"
City of Aiken's "Opportunity Zone" (Source: City of Aiken)

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